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Urban Sprawl and Ecosystems — Can Nature Survive?


  • Czamanski, Daniel
  • Benenson, Itzhak
  • Malkinson, Dan
  • Marinov, Maria
  • Roth, Rafael
  • Wittenberg, Lea


Contrary to the popular notion that the advancing frontier of urban development has been swallowing and destroying natural ecosystems we present evidence that the sprawl of cities creates ample open space in peri-urban areas. Traditional view of city–nature dichotomy and clear spatial separation should be substituted by a vision that reflects the complex spatial dynamics of city–rural–natural fabric with extended areas of overlap among them. We present a survey of the relevant research concerning urban and ecological systems spatial dynamics and conclude that nonregular, leapfrogging spatial expansion, characteristic of the majority of the modern western cities, may buffer between urban and intensively cultivated agricultural areas and counter their impacts on natural ecosystems. The wealthy sprawling suburbs provide essential habitats for native species and ensure their survival.

Suggested Citation

  • Czamanski, Daniel & Benenson, Itzhak & Malkinson, Dan & Marinov, Maria & Roth, Rafael & Wittenberg, Lea, 2008. "Urban Sprawl and Ecosystems — Can Nature Survive?," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 2(4), pages 321-366, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:jirere:101.00000019
    DOI: 10.1561/101.00000019

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    Cited by:

    1. Sona Bikdeli, 2020. "Redevelopment modeling for land suitability evaluation of the suburb brown-fields using fuzzy logic and GIS, northeastern Iran," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 22(7), pages 6213-6232, October.
    2. Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman, 2012. "Integrating Regional Economic Development Analysis and Land Use Economics," Economics Working Paper Series 1203, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.
    3. Soto-Montes-de-Oca, Gloria & Bark, Rosalind & González-Arellano, Salomón, 2020. "Incorporating the insurance value of peri-urban ecosystem services into natural hazard policies and insurance products: Insights from Mexico," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).


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